Do you transfer them to your computer, file them nicely into different folders or just transfer them and forget about it? Or even worse, continue leaving them in your digital camera or video camera until it is forgotten?
I have a friend who still diligently prints out all her holiday photos and compiles them into an album, just like she would do if she had taken photos with a film. Another friend just sent me a pdf file, whereby she copied all her photos and put them into Adobe so that she can put in text commentaries.
Personally, I much prefer to make them into a movie. This way, we can play it like a movie when we have friends over in our house. I stumbled onto one a few years ago and I want to share this as it seems that not everyone is aware of it ( or at least based on my sample of friends ).
There should be many types available on the market, but I guess the common one which everyone will have is the Windows Movie Maker (WMM). It comes free with the Windows operating system.
What I love about it is that I no longer have to trawl through the whole folder of pictures to look for my favourites. It also allows me to put narratives for each photo. This can be done by putting in text on the photo or you could even narrate and record it onto the movie. You could also put titles at the start of each section to indicate the various locations / occasions / dates of each group of photos. So, essentially, it is the same as how one would decorate a physical album, except that this is a ‘soft copy’.
You can even add videos taken off your video camcorder to it. Note, however, that only certain video formats are accepted, so you may need another software to convert it before downloading it into the WMM. Usually, when we shoot a video, there will be a lot of unwanted footage. WMM lets you clip away the unwanted footage, so you can just show the interesting bits.
To add more professional touches, there are other functions such as Transition, Adding credits / titles, Adding music. Transitions can be used in between any photos, and includes fade in /out, zooming in / out etc. Adding credits / titles will allow you to introduce the place, or highlight parts that can’t be seen in the video.
You could even mute video clips that don’t have important sounds as background noises can sometimes be a distraction. Muting video clips and adding music or your own narration will make your video more interesting. You could even speed up or slow down the videos which you recorded.
For those of you who are too busy, there is even a function to automatically create a movie for you. I have not tried this myself but based on the website, all you have to do is download your photos into the movie maker, choose Make an AutoMovie and it will do the rest for you.
Everything that you have done gets saved into a ‘project’. You will notice that this file is rather small. This is because it does not contain a copy of the source files (i.e. your original photos) that are used in the project. Whatever changes you make in the movie does not affect your original photos. This also means that you have to be careful when you move your source files around, as the WMM project will indicate that it cannot find the file and you have to choose the new file location again. However, once you have converted the project file into a movie, it will no longer need the source files and everything is stored into the movie file.
The movie file is in a Windows Media Video (.wmv) format. So it is only playable on a computer with Windows Media Player. Recently, I purchased a JVC video camcorder and it came with another program to make movies ( Cyberlink PowerDirector ). It works almost the same way as WMM except that the type of transitions / effects are different but works in the same way. As it came with my videocam, it accepts my videocam file format without the need for any conversion. Another advantage is that I can also save the movie in a format which is playable on the DVD player that is attached to the TV. This way, it is really like watching a movie!
Whether you leave your photos in the computer or make them into a movie, remember Rule #1 – Backup, backup and backup! Imagine losing all your photos / videos when your computer goes down.